This year’s Shalom Project focuses on the two greatest humanitarian crises in the world today: the Syrian refugee crisis and the conflict in South Sudan.
The conflict in Syria began in 2011 when peaceful protests against the government became violent. The civil war between government forces and the rebel group escalated, leaving millions of people dead or displaced. The United Nations (UN) notes there are currently more than 4.8 million registered Syrian refugees. The refugees require immediate assistance for shelter and basic needs.
In 2011, South Sudan became the world's youngest country. The political landscape of the new nation is controlled by the two main ethnic groups in the country: the Dinka and the Nuer. In 2013, the President, a Dinka, accused the Vice President, a Nuer, of a coup against his presidency. This event inflamed the historically tense relationship between the Dinka and the Nuer into an open and violent conflict. According to the UN, 2.3 million people from South Sudan - one in every five persons - has been forced to flee their homes since the conflict began. The resulting disruption of the nation’s agricultural system and trade routes has left countless families on the brink of starvation. According to the UN, over 650,000 kids under the age of five lack reliable access to food. Despite the severity of the situation, it has received little worldwide attention. This has prompted some to call it the "forgotten crisis." As followers of Jesus, we will not forget these people.
Through a partnership with World Relief, we will meet immediate, physical needs of those suffering from these two catastrophes. By working with and through local churches, World Relief ensures aid is administered by those with expertise of the region, as well as fostering long-term relationships that can create opportunities to share the hope of the Gospel.
Specifically, this year our goal is to provide crucial aid in three ways:
In the Middle East:
1. Help 70 Syrian refugee families resettle
The Civil War has displaced millions of families, often forcing them to flee with nothing more than what they can carry. The reality is they do not know when, or even if, they will be able to return to their home. As they struggle to begin to rebuild a life out of the ashes, we can help provide some of the basic necessities they require. We will provide supply kits - which contain temporary shelter, pots, pans, and hygiene items - to 70 families. Each kit costs $650.
In South Sudan:
2. Feed 70 South Sudanese families immediately
Millions of families are starving in South Sudan because they are unable to get food due to the conflict. For $650, we can provide a family of six living in an Internally Displaced People (IDP) Camp with nutritious food for six months. We will feed 70 of these families.
3. Provide care for 70 babies to be born safely in a South Sudanese IDP Camp
According to the UN, an adolescent girl in South Sudan is three times more likely to die in childbirth than complete primary school. In the midst of the conflict, many young women lack access to crucial medical care to protect her and her baby. For $400, we can provide the medical care at a World Relief maternity ward that is essential to safeguarding these vulnerable lives. We will provide this care for 70 mothers and their children.